Brunel enlists Renishaw metal 3D printing to improve racecar efficiency

UK-based additive manufacturing specialist Renishaw recently provided support to the Brunel University racing team in London for the Formula Student (FS) competition.

Specifically, Renishaw contributed its metal 3D printing service and expertise to help Brunel Racing produce a manifold part, which featured on the team’s BR-XX racing car. Brunel Racing and its BR-XX car competed at FS-UK in Silverstone, and FS-ATA in Italy in July for its 20th participating year.

“The applications of AM are broadening into ever more industries,” explained Joshua Whitmore, Applications Engineer at Renishaw. “In many examples, it offers clear benefits over traditional manufacturing methods as you can simplify the manufacturing process or increase part performance.” 

“The growing use of multi-laser machines, such as the RenAM 500Q, allows for higher build rates, vastly improving productivity and lowering cost per part.”

Renishaw supports Brunel Racing in Formula Student competition. Photo via Renishaw.
Renishaw supports Brunel Racing in Formula Student competition. Photo via Renishaw.

Renishaw 3D printing allows for ambitious car design

The Brunel Racing team was previously producing manifolds for its car using carbon fibre and aluminum. However, the method adopted by the team had limitations due to the design geometry. For Formula Student 2019, Brunel Racing opted for a more ambitious design for improved efficiency. It included additional features, such as dual stage fuel injection and improved port matching between exhaust manifold and the engine.

To help realize its new design, Brunel Racing worked with Renishaw,  providing the company with the original design geometry for the manifold part. Both the racing team and Renishaw then worked together to optimize the part for production on Renishaw’s RenAM 500Q AM system. Brunel Racing split the part into smaller assemblies, and identified where to eliminate overhangs where possible, under the guidance of Renishaw. 

“Renishaw’s expertise and advice on how to design a part for the additive manufacturing process was invaluable,” explained Matthew Crouch, a Mechanical Engineering student and one of the managers of the Brunel Racing team. “To design for AM, overhangs could not be over 55° from the vertical axis on both overhangs and each part requires smooth transitions of cross sectional thickness.”

“Additive manufacturing proved itself to be a much more suitable manufacturing method than a traditional approach. The final part performs better in the car due to its increased strength and we also had the added benefit of reduced post processing.”

The 3D printed manifold part for the BR-XX. Photo via Renishaw.
The 3D printed manifold part for the BR-XX. Photo via Renishaw.

3D printing in Formula Student

Formula Student has provided a testing ground for the next generation of engineers for over 20 years. Taking place at major Formula One circuits throughout Europe, the educational motorsport competition invites students to design and build a single-seat racing car in order to take part. With additive manufacturing increasingly adopted in professional motorsports, student engineers like Brunel Racing team are utilizing the same processes.

Other student racing teams that have implemented 3D printing into the builds of their cars includes Oxford Brookes Racing (OBR) from Oxford Brookes University. The team utilized 3D printed parts and expertise from RPS for both the 2018 and 2019 season of Formula Student. 

In 2018, the ETSEIB team, comprised of engineering students at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain, used 3D printing from local manufacturer BCN3D Technologies to create a car for Formula Student. 3D printing was used by the team to streamline its manufacturing process

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Featured image shows Brunel University London race car during testing. Photo via Renishaw.